December 10, 2016 – December 11, 2016
There’s nothing like a good tacky Christmas sweater party with the rowdiest bunch of accountants and trip to the Christmas markets to get you in the mood for the holidays. (Oh, and Glühwein, lots of Glühwein, but I’ll get to that part later). Especially since we are deciding to forego a tree of our own this year as it would be particularly dangerous to carry one up our steep steps and there’s no guarantee that it would fit through our tiny hallway. Luckily we will make it home to enjoy our families’ trees at the end of next week!
The Christmas markets in Europe are something I was begging Tyler take me to since I heard of their existence, sometime in mid-November. I spent countless time (more like 20 minutes, but for someone with my attention span that’s still a long time) researching, and a quick google search of “Best Christmas markets in Europe” convinced me that Cologne was where I needed to go. I was in awe of the majestic Cologne Cathedral. As a bonus, Cologne just happens to be only about a 2 hour train ride away and we had an open weekend.
Just look at the huge Cologne Cathedral, and you’ll be sold too.
Tyler warmed up to the idea of visiting Cologne when he discovered the many breweries there and put together an extensive list of markets and breweries to visit. There are 7 Christmas markets in Cologne, but I knew the first one that I wanted to visit was the biggest one with the picturesque church in the background. Much to my surprise it seemed to be everyone else’s top pick as well and was ridiculously crowded. However, I did get to experience my first taste of German Glühwein and they gave it to you in this cute collectible cup. Well, they were cute at first, but now we have about 5 different patterns in the dishwasher with no chance of having enough room in the cabinet for them. But it was a neat idea that each market does it’s own print.
Anyway, we stayed at this market long enough to eat a cheese pretzel, some spaetzel and applesauce taters, aka lunch. We also watched a band full of old people play Christmas songs.
After I’d had enough of the crowds, we decided to meet our friends and adventure buddies, Martin and Maggie, at one of the breweries on the list to appease the husbands. The breweries in Cologne are no joke. Although they only serve Kolsch beer which is pretty much the equivalent of Miller Lite (and if you know me, you know I won’t drink that), they are huge! We entered Brauhaus Fruh Am Dom and somehow found our way 3 stories below into the basement where the real action was. The waiters just carry around 0.2 l beers and when you are done drinking you simply place your coaster over your beer. I couldn’t believe how big of a place the building was and how crowded it was, but that was just a theme of the weekend.
When we’d had enough icky beer, we decided to go to the next Christmas market, the Old Market, known for the many gnomes hidden throughout the grounds.
Can you spy the gnomes?
We walked around this market for a while enjoying some more food and purchasing a few presents. The highlight of this Christmas market was definitely the Ferris Wheel. It wasn’t very big, but it moved really quickly. We were the only riders without children, but definitely in the top 5 loudest screamers.
On our way to the next market, we ran across another group of old men singing Christmas songs. These guys had light up pants and the lead singer was playing the washboard. They were having so much fun it made everyone in a jolly mood.
My biggest regret of the weekend was not taking a picture of any of the food. We had so much food. From bratwurst to melted cheese bread to salmon rolls to bread budding, it was all delicious. However, I did get a picture of more Glühwein.
and of the funny outfits that the workers wear.
and of a few more of the markets we went to. I think one was called the Angel market.
That was a wrap on day one, so after a quick stop at Peters Brauhaus, we went to get some shut eye at our AirBnB which was conveniently located about a 5 minute walk from the cathedral.
The next day I was excited to go to the Harbor Market that had a big pirate ship. Mostly I was excited to get some warm socks because Maggie had gotten some there the day before and my feet were cold.
We alternated the day between brewery and Christmas market hitting up Guilds in the Zims, the Old Market for the second time, and a biergarden.
I went back for round two of melted cheesy bread because it was just so good.
We paid some money to see these Germans perform a Jukebox song. I think I picked something by the Beatles.
And then we headed towards the train and it was a relief to get out of the cold. I must say though, it was another good trip, with the most fun crew.